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The Benefits of Foam Rolling

SANO Editorial

Who doesn’t love getting a massage?  You should be giving yourself one almost every day in the form of foam-rolling.  Foam rollers can be used for a multitude of things from warming up your muscles and stretching them out to helping loosen tight muscles and relieve pain—no matter your age.  Here are some powerful tips that will only take 5-15 minutes per day to help you crush your at-home workouts. 

Why Should I Foam Roll? The main benefit of foam-rolling is to aid myofascial release. Think of the fascia as the body’s “soft skeleton” because it is essentially the collagen that is cased around every muscle fiber, organ, nerve fiber and bone in the body.  With muscle soreness, inflammation, injury, or atrophy the fascia becomes stiff and tightens (think knots in your back), which can lead to pain and possibly further injury.  

Exercises.  Relieve your sore muscles and improve your recovery time with these five foam-rolling exercises.

  • CALVES: Sit on your mat with your hands on either side of you butt, then cross one of your ankles over the other with the foam roller under your lower leg. Roll your ankle from ankle to knee a few times with your toes point up to the sky.  Switch legs and repeat.
  • QUADS: Lie face down on your mat with your forearms propping you up. Place the foam roller under your quads and roll from your knee to the top of your legs.
  • GLUTES: Sit on the foam roller with one of your feet on your mat and the other leg crossed over your opposite thigh. Place your hand that is opposite of your leg that is on your mat behind you for support. Tilt your body towards the foam-roller and begin to roll your muscle slowly.  Switch position to opposite side and repeat.
  • BACK: Lie facing up with your feet flat on your mat, knees up and butt lifted off the floor, then place the foam-roller in the middle of your back. Once you have this position, interlace your fingers behind your head and slowly roll your back from your shoulder to your mid-back.  Make sure not to roll your lower-back!
  • IT BANDS: We saved the most painful, but beneficial for last! Lie on your side with your hands supplanted in front of you and cross your higher leg over the other placing your foot on the mat. Use your hands to roll your body slowly and gradually along your IT bands. Our IT bands have a tendency to tighten from prolonged sitting at desks, on airplanes/trains/cars and other seating positions.  

How Often? Ideally, every day. The more you foam-roll, the more your muscles respond to it.  Similar to stretching, you should do it daily although ease yourself into it by gradually building up the number of sessions you do.  We recommend dedicating 5 to 15 minutes per session to foam-rolling exercises at least once a day to simply get out the kinks, especially as we are probably sitting more during the current virus climate. Scan your body and when you find an area of tension, work around it for about 20-30 seconds using short, slow rolls and follow this up with longer, slower strokes over the whole length of the muscle.

Common Mistakes.  In order to maximize benefits of foam-rolling and avoid injury, here are some top mistakes you should avoid.  You should avoid directly rolling on your lower vertebrae as this could cause contraction on you lower back muscles resulting in discomfort.  You don’t have to spend equal amounts of time on each body part.  In other words, spend more time on your right quadricep if your scan results in that one hurting more than your left quadricep.

When you go to get a massage from a masseuse, we aren’t in a hurry to leave the table, so avoid rolling too quickly.  Longer slower more measured and elongated rolls, while concentrating on your breathing will send messages from your brain to relax your muscles.  Some of your favorite brands to help you recover include Trigger Point and Hyperice.  And don’t forget to recover with your favorite complete plant-based protein that includes all nine essential amino acids that our bodies don’t produce naturally.  

What you need to know about immune boosting

With the holiday season officially upon us and everyone’s health-related anxiety increased due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we wanted to provide you some tips to boost your immune system.  While there is currently no silver bullet yet (vaccines effectiveness pending) to prevent contracting this virus, there are certainly precautionary tenets you can implement to strengthen your immune system. Here are some powerful, research-backed tips.

Exercise.  Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. When you workout, you energize the cells in your body that are responsible for fighting off illness causing bacteria.  Walking, bouncing and even vibration modalities have all been shown to increase immune function and lymphatic drainage.  

Diet.  Just like exercise can contribute to general good health and a healthy immune system, so can a healthy diet.  Making sure that you are sufficiently hydrated and getting the proper nutrition from the foods you eat is a key component of keeping your immune system strong.  Eliminate refined sugar and increase your intake of fruits and vegetables to increase your body’s production of antibodies. Some of the immune boosters that are backed by science include, cinnamon (one of ten ingredients in our premium plant-based protein), green tea, ginger, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and probiotics. Also, including quality plant-based proteins and essential fats are also critical.

Recovery. Sleep affects our overall health, including our hormones and immune system. Making sure that you get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per day can have a profound impact on brain health, which influences mood, energy level and cognitive fitness. Our bodies produce increased amount of proteins called cytokines during sleep, which is the terminal step in the cell cycle when barriers in the form of new membranes (and cell walls in some cases) are generated.

In addition to hand washing and being properly hydrated, you can bolster your immune system by exercising, engaging in an immune booster diet and recovering properly by sleeping at least 7 hours per day. This global pandemic will pass, but in the interim it's important to instill a healthy lifestyle that will lead to a robust immune system.


5 Ways to be a Badass in the Gym

SANO Editorial

Fitness has taken a turn for the strong-and we're all about it at SANO. In fact, following suit—and learning exactly how to be a badass—is at the top of our fitness goals as we start to think about the holiday season and New Year, New You.

But what is a badass? When you're a true badass, you really live your life like it's the only one you've got. You're not only in better shape, you're doing what you want for a living, you're having more fun, and you're more inspired and energized.

And the benefits are real. For one, when you're doing what you want and having more fun, you're likely happier. And researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health suggest happiness has huge effects on health-especially when it comes to the heart. In one study, they found that emotional vitality (defined as a sense of enthusiasm, hopefulness, and engagement in life) reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.  Checkout out our top 5 tips for being a badass.

Think Positively. Success starts with confidence, right? One of the biggest predictors of performance is self-efficacy, which is the belief that you can complete a task.  It’s all about that mind-body connection; strong mind equals a stronger body. If I have the expectation and the sense of a can-do attitude, you’ll be more likely to be able to do it.

Don’t Give a Damn. Another trademark of a badass: an "I don't give a f#ck" attitude. Do you think professional athletes like Tom Brady, Serena Williams and Tiger Woods pay attention to the haters? Research has found those who based their sense of self-worth on what others thought about them actually had lower health scores. And for those who didn’t give a f#ck what their peers thought were less likely to experience drug abuse, eating disorders and reported overall lower levels of stress. To adopt this way of thinking, it's about focusing on the things you can control and forgetting the things you can't. You can't do anything about the outcome of a race, but you can focus on your technique and breathing when you race.

Be a Risk Taker. A badass athlete is just someone who goes all-in.  Pick your role models then follow suit. The advantage of following the sports psychology principle of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-oriented. Taking a totally unrealistic risk—like running a marathon when you’ve never completed a 10k—can be demoralizing if you fail. However taking risks and being successful can help your brain fine tune what's motivating you to reach your fitness goals in the first place.

Repetition is the Father of Boredom. In order to be a badass, you have to go out and try something new that you’ve been talking about doing but haven’t accomplished. And adding innovation to your training plan will actually increase your fitness gains. By switching up your workout routine, your muscularity and strength improve. We recommend checking out a boxing class at Rumble, throwing around some kettlebells at TruFusion or taking a hot yoga class at Yoga Vida.

Love Yourself. Do things regularly that you bring you joy often. When you look up sexy in a dictionary there should be a picture of a happy version of you!  Take time out to calm your mind every day, realize that beauty can not be defined, be patient by persistent, follow your passions and make certain to celebrate your wins no matter how big or small.

For those that are willing to adopt to that badass mindset, you are just flat out tougher than the rest of us!

How to Boost Your Libido, Stamina and Sex Appeal

SANO Editorial

Humanity has been obsessed over aphrodisiacs for thousands of years.  In ancient Egypt, couples ate wine-soaked lily flowers to boost passion. Some aphrodisiacs since then have been similarly less pleasant as the search for the best foods that increase libido and stamina is on.

Most aphrodisiacs have been proven useless, but that doesn’t stop mankind’s search for the ultimate love potion. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to boost your libido, energy, and passion without ingesting anything disgusting or dangerous.  Here is a list of our top foods to consumer to increase your libido and have an amazing sex life!

Basil.  The aroma of basil is said to increase sexual desire in men. Medieval prostitutes dabbed basil oil behind the ears to be seductive.  Inside the body, basil increases blood circulation everywhere including the sex organs. Pair this herb with pine nuts for a killer pesto that doubles as an aphrodisiac!

Ginseng. Ginseng can do wonders for your sex life. Researchers have found Korean red ginseng in particular improved sexual arousal in menopausal women. Ginseng has also been shown to improve sexual function in men.

Flaxseed. One of the foods that increase libido in women is flaxseeds. Flaxseeds contain phytoestrogens that act very similarly to female hormones that are linked to a healthy sex life. Flax can be beneficial for women who have low estrogen levels, such as those experiencing menopause. 

Hemp Seeds. Hemp seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral most Americans fall short in consuming. Magnesium not only helps regulate blood pressure, it also helps increase testosterone levels. 

Chia Seeds. Chia seeds are also some of the foods that increase male libido. These have been shown to boost testosterone naturally. It’s all thanks to the essential fatty acids that serve as building blocks for hormones. Testosterone is tied to feelings of power, motivation, well-being, and sex drive.

Garlic. Garlic is loaded with allicin—an active compound that increases blood flow—making everything extra sensitive to touch. It also stimulates blood circulation for stronger erections and greater endurance in the bedroom.  Just don’t forget the breath mints before heading to the bedroom!

Ginger. Ginger stimulates as an aphrodisiac for sex. It contains an essential oil that stimulates the body department and warms the blood. Ginger increases our libido and makes a greater desire for sex. It’s also a great ingredient to add to smoothies for digestive purposes.  

 Dark Chocolate. Dark chocolate helps release the same chemicals as those released during sex. Those feel-good chemicals will help build desire with your partner.  Choose chocolate made from 60-70 percent cocoa and eat 1-ounce servings.

Maca. In South America maca it's commonly used to boost fertility, even going by the nickname "the Peruvian Viagra”.  Maca enhances the psychology behind sex by helping you to effectively create sexual fantasies. Add a dash of the powdered root to your evening tea and you can thank us in the morning!

Goji Berries. Daily intake of goji berries led to increased testosterone levels in women and men, reduced stress levels, and increased mood making this antioxidant a triple-threat fruit. 

Red Wine. Red grapes are a good source of boron, which is a mineral that helps stimulate the production of both estrogen and testosterone.  A boost in estrogen and testosterone can send fresh energy to your sex organs and put you in the mood.  Just be careful, if you drink too much, it actually impedes arousal!

Plant-Based Protein. Both men’s health and women’s health can benefit from consuming plant-based protein, such as our organic premium plant-based protein, especially if they desire to enhance their sexual lives. Our expertly formulated vegan protein proteins include 4 of the top aphrodisiacs (flaxseed, hemp, goji berries and dark chocolate).  A diet high in plants enhances cardiovascular health keeping blood pressure at bay and reduces the risks of chronic diseases like diabetes, which may also contribute to erectile dysfunction.  Plant-based proteins can also help maintain proper hormone levels, especially for perimenopausal and menopausal women.

Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can create fatigue, depression, and low energy levels that get in the way of passion and love. Eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly also make a big difference in your sex life.

Why Too Much Cardio is Bad for You

SANO Editorial

Are you running, spinning, or swimming 3-5 times a week yet feeling tired, anxious, and having trouble falling asleep and sleeping through the night? Perhaps you may be overdoing cardio and should consider other forms of wellness so your body can feel more fueled. 

Research has indicated that cardio is not always that helpful for weight loss. Our bodies become used to the calorie deficiency and store the energy as fat to overcompensate. If your goals are to lose a few extra post-summer pounds, you may want to check out our tips in this article.

Replace Some Cardio with Weight Training.   Lifting weights and building muscle increases your basal metabolic rate, which accounts for 65–80% of calories burned daily. Boosting your basal metabolism also increases your capacity to burn fat for 24-plus hours—something cardio doesn’t do.  In other words, when you weight train, you continue burning fat after your workout is finished.

Eat a Balanced (Plant-Based) Diet.  Make sure you’re getting your daily intake of (plant-based) protein, healthy fats, and fiber (think greens), and try to avoid carbs, sugar, or alcohol after a workout. A juice or night at the bar can quickly undo your hard work by spiking your insulin and storing sugar as fat.  Consider a “Sober October” (or at a minimum try to cut your alcohol intake in half)!

Intermittent Fasting.  Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term that covers various diets that cycle between a set amount of time of fasting and non-fasting periods. There are a number of ways to actually perform intermittent fasting or time-restricted fasting, but the easiest and most common involve taking advantage of your natural overnight fast.  By skipping breakfast and delaying your first meal a number of hours past the 12-hour mark from your meal the prior night, you are entering your body into a “fasted” state causing your body to refuel on its stored body fat.

Introduce Restorative Exercise.  Restorative exercise like yoga and pilates both strengthen and lengthen the muscles and connective tissue and can actually aid in weight loss. It also reduces stress and cortisol (one of the major reasons for weight gain and hormone imbalance) and the meditation helps brain cognitive.

As it turns out, more is not better when it comes to cardio. In fact, too much of it—like too much of anything—can slowly kill you.